Mystery baby name: LaQuita

Graph of the usage of the baby name Laquita in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Laquita

When the popularity of a particular baby name spikes, there’s always an explanation.

Most of the time, the explanation isn’t hard to come up with. Hundreds of baby girls were named Rhiannon after Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon was released in 1976, dozens of baby boys were named Rambo after the Rambo movies started coming out in the early 1980s, and so forth.

Sometimes, the explanation isn’t as conspicuous. I didn’t immediately see the connection between the name Aquanette and B-movie actress Burnu Acquanetta, for instance. Only after mulling it over for a while was I able to link the name Kasara to a long-forgotten Lisa Lisa song.

Today’s name belongs in that latter group. In fact, the explanation for today’s name is so inconspicuous that I haven’t been able to piece it together, even after months of trying.

So I’m giving up. I’m just going to post what I know and hope that some wise soul leaves a comment that helps me unravel the mystery. :)

The name is Laquita. (It’s often written LaQuita in obituaries.) It debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1930, coming out of nowhere to be given to an impressive 68 baby girls that year.

Now, the number 68 might seem trivial. Today’s most popular names are given to tens of thousands of babies each, after all. As far as newbie names go, though, 68 is huge. Especially when you’re talking about the early 20th century. Here’s some context:

  • Top debut names of 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 15
  • Top debut names of 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • Top debut names of 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • Top debut names of 1929: Jeannene, 26; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8
  • Top debut names of 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • Top debut names of 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • Top debut names of 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • Top debut names of 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • Top debut names of 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9

Laquita jumped into the top 1,000 right away, ranking 874th. It remained there for the next three years.

Here’s a final fact that could be helpful: None of the 28 1930-Laquitas listed in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) were born during the first four months of the year. The name starts to show up in May, with 3 Laquitas born that month. This may mean that a mid-year event triggered the spike.

Any ideas?

Source: SSA

39 thoughts on “Mystery baby name: LaQuita

  1. It is a difficult one to pin down! It seems to have been first used in the early 20th C; I’ve found a couple in the 1910 Census. I’ve tried all the usual suspects of film, fiction, etc and drawn a blank. It strikes me that the cause must be down to the name appearing in a newspaper or magazine — but which, I don’t know, nor why. The earliest date I’ve found in the free online newspaper archives is 1944. Good luck with your hunt!

  2. Have been doing some more thinking. I have come across one possible cause of the spike — a Joy Laquita Collier died in Florida in 1930. I can’t find an obituary — though have not had time to look into it in depth, but if there was one, it might have planted the name in soon-to-be parents minds. There do seem to be a number of Laquita Joys about.

    There’s always the chance it’s just a bit of a fluke — we are talking small numbers. The numbers of Laquita were growing from its first appearance, and the oldest were becoming young women in 1930. That’s often the way an unusual but attractive name spreads — the, Oh-I-met-a-lovely-girl/baby-called-X-and-though-‘that’s-a-pretty-name’ syndrome!

  3. Were any babies named Laquinta? I ask because a lot of the Google results seem to point to La Quinta, Calif. The La Quinta Resort & Club opened there in 1926 ( — I can’t find a specific reference, but it was very popular with celebrities and could have easily figured in some kind of media event in 1930. Maybe Laquita is a place name?

  4. There could be a La Quinta connection, but something tells me that’s not it.

    “Laquinta” does show up on the SSA’s baby name list, it doesn’t pop up until much later — 1958 the first time, then a few times in the ’60s, and then 1970-2000. If there were a link, they’d have shown up around the same time.

    La Quinta is popping up mainly because Google likes to substitute obscure search terms with more common ones. You can take “La Quinta” out of the results by using minus signs:

    laquita -la -quinta

    That should clean things up a bit.

    BTW, variants of Laquita start appearing soon after 1930, if this helps anyone at all:

    1930: Laquita, 68
    1931: Laquita, 59; Lequita, 6
    1932: Laquita, 68; Laqueta, 6; Lequita, 6; Laquitta, 5
    1933: Laquita, 53; Laqueta, 10; Laquetta, 5; Lequita, 5

  5. LaQuita most likely comes from LaQuinta.

    ‘La quinta’ means ‘The fifth’

    There was a college in Bartlesville Oklahoma named LaQuinta in 1930. If any of the earliest Laquitas was born near that area, that could be the reason.

  6. PS: That college was _built_ in 1930, and there are similarities to names like Latika / Lakita etc.

    (not sure if those names existed back then..)

  7. Of the 68 baby Laquitas, 15 were born in Oklahoma and 14 were born in Texas. So there *is* actually a connection to that area. (Thanks for making me look it up!)

    That said, though, the names Laquinta, Lakita and Lakeeta were not on the national list at all in 1930. So, whatever the influence, people really were focused on “Laquita” specifically.

  8. Just looking for info on my mother in law’s name.. Laquita Joy, born June ’31 Caucasian born Charleston WV. Grandma always told family that her name was that of a heroine in a book she’d long forgotten when I met her in the 1980s.

  9. Thank you for the information, John!

    It’s notable that she’s another “Laquita Joy.” So many LaQuitas have the middle name Joy (and Joyce)…there has to be something to that.

  10. Found a fellow blogger whose mother’s name is LaQuita, “named after a character her aunt found in a Spanish storybook which she thought was a very pretty name.”

  11. My grandmother’s name was Betty Laquita. She told us her mother gave her the middle name Laquita after a character in a book she was reading at the time. She told us that the name meant “beautiful one” in spanish, but I am not certain that it does. I am trying to find out the name of the book, if anyone has any ideas!

  12. My mother name is Laquita from 1932. Her mother got it from a book everyone was reading at the time. They are a bunch of caucasian Laquita’s during that time period.

  13. My mother named me Laquita Joy when I was born in 1936 and said she had read the name in a book she had read while working on a ranch in New Mexico.

  14. @suzanne & @laquita lowrey – Thanks for the comments! Yet more evidence that we’re on the hunt for some long-forgotten book…

  15. I just met a Laquita yesterday! She was a little bewildered by how excited I was to learn her name, but gamely explained that her father was in the Navy and had encountered the name in his travels overseas, so when she was born in 1956 that was their family’s first name choice. That was as much info as she had — no info as to where overseas (he was stationed many places), or what the context was. I didn’t remember the bit about Joy being a usual middle-name accompaniment so I neglected to ask about that. (Her sister was named Treva.)

  16. Oh wow!

    Thank you for trying to get some intel. :)

    (I have definitely freaked people out before by getting excited over their names…)

  17. My moms middle name wasLaquitta. She was born in 1930. She asked her mom where the name came from, and was told than an Aunt had read that name in a French magazine.

  18. Ah! How wonderful after all of these years. Now, we must begin with all of the French Vogues to work through the other cold case names…j/k. I’ll have to check whether FV was in circulation then, however.

  19. My name is Laquita June ! I was born on June 1 my mother read a book about an Indian princess named laquita and I have some Indian blood sooo

  20. My mother in law was born in Fort Worth in1930. Her name is Laquita Joy. She was named after a character in a book her mom read. We are trying to find the book for her.

  21. Did anyone track down the name of the book. I had found the title once, but lost my notes. It is of course out of publication.

  22. @Laura – I haven’t figured out the title yet, but I’m eager to! I’m hoping someone comes along with the answer soon…

  23. I was named LaQuita Joy, by my father’s persistence to use the name. From what I was told, he had read a story about 2 girls who were best of friends…a Texas maiden named Joy and her best friend of Mexican decent, LaQuita. At one time I had actually received a poorly xeroxed copy of the story from my sister, and I’m thinking she found it in ‘True Story’ or a similar type magazine. I always wondered how in the world my dad would have come upon the story for him to read it & leave such an impact to use that name. I would guess the story was first published prior to the sudden boom of the name being used in 1930.

  24. Thank you for all the details, LaQuita!

    I tried checking for 1929-1930 issues of True Story at, but unfortunately the only issues they have right now are outside of that range.

  25. I’m loving finding out there are more Laquita’s out there! I’m not alone anymore! Haha! My family was so convinced that I’d be born early they all made a bet that whoever’s birthday I was born on or closest too that person chose my middle name. My aunt won and named me after her childhood best friend. They were both born in 1932 but she had no idea where her family got the name from. She said she loved it from the moment they met.

  26. My grandmother named me Laquita in 1967. It was the name of a character in a book she had read about Spanish and American Indians. I was told the name is Cherokee. She enjoyed learning about Indian culture so it makes sense to me.

  27. My mother’s name is Laquita, she was born in 1951. Does anyone know what this book was called?

  28. I have a sister named Laquita, who was named after her aunt, Laquita. My grandmother found the name in a book that she was reading about Cherokee Indians. She was born and raised in Texas.

    If anyone finds the name of this book, please let me know.

  29. Thank you for the comment, Laquita’s Brother — this is the second time the Cherokee have come up, I feel like that could be a helpful clue.

  30. This is amazing! My grandmother was born in the 30’s & was named LaQuita Joy. We were also told that it was a character from a book that her mother particularly enjoyed. Eager to discover the book this inspiring character came from!

  31. Hello! My mom-in-law is a Laquita Joy born 1933! This is all very interesting. The story I got was her name came from a character in a book about Indians that her mom read while she was pregnant! She was born and raised in Texas. I would very much like to find the book also!

  32. My mother was named Laquita and her twin sister Marita. Born in 1931 in Texas. They were told their names came from a book also!

  33. My middle name is Laquita. My aunt named me after her childhood best friend. She was a little older than my aunt so she would’ve been born late 1920s because my at was born in 1930. No one knows what it means or where it came from, she just said she always loved her named and gave it to me.

  34. My mother was born in 1938. Her name is Laquita and she was named after the character in the book that her mother and her sister read in the early thirties… so I’m sure this is the same book everyone’s talking about. I would love to know the name of the book just like everybody else here!!!!!

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